Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar announced on Monday that it would be donating three TB2 armed drones to Ukraine’s armed forces, after a fundraiser by Ukrainian comedian-turned-politician Serhiy Prytula successfully collected 20 million dollars for the purchase of the drones in under three days.
In a statement, Baykar announced that it would not be accepting payment for the three TB2s, and would deliver them to the Ukrainian armed forces for free. The company said that it was moved by the solidarity and determination of the Ukrainian people “in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges”, requesting that the funds raised be used elsewhere to help Ukrainian resistance to the now four month-old Russian invasion.
Prtyula’s charity foundation thanked Baykar in an announcement on social media, saying that Baykar’s move proved that the unity of Ukrainians in fighting for their independence could not be ignored. “Please, don’t ever stop. Together we are invincible!” In separate comments, Prytula pledged to closely cooperate with the Ukrainian military on how best to spend the funds raised.
Prytula launched the fundraiser on June 22, aiming to raise 15 million dollars in a week for three TB2s in what he and his foundation called the “People’s Bayraktar” fundraiser. While the foundation had already set aside 2 million dollars in previous donations for the purchase, the total amount raised reached 10.4 million dollars in 24 hours, ultimately reaching the 20 million dollar mark in three days.
In response to Baykar’s announcement that they would be donating the TB2s, Laisves TV presenter Andrius Tapinas quipped that the Lithuanian fundraiser he started had unleashed a Bayraktar gifting virus onto the world. In his congratulations to Prytula, Tapinas said that he was glad that Lithuanians could become an inspiration for crowdfunding the drones, adding that it was impressive that an agreement could be reached with Baykar on the rapid delivery of additional TB2s. It seems that the ‘virus’ has continued to spread with a TB2 fundraising effort also launched in Poland this week.